Best of Broward and Palm Beach 2016: Food & Drink Winners

The battle for best of the best in Broward and Palm Beach ain't easy.
The battle for best of the best in Broward and Palm Beach ain't easy.
Illustration by Alvaro Diaz-Rubio

While bringing you the very best restaurant, cocktail, craft beer, and all things food related in South Florida is our goal here at New Times every day, once a year we take things to the next level. 

The New Times Best of Broward and Palm Beach 2016 is now on newsstands and online. There are hundreds of winners across Arts & Entertainment, Shopping & Services, Sports & Recreation, Readers' Choice, and - of course - Food & Drink.

Here are just a few of the winners:

Hot & Soul is the Best Restaurant in Broward County 2016.
Hot & Soul is the Best Restaurant in Broward County 2016.

Best Restaurant in Broward County: Hot & Soul
Husband-and-wife team Mike Hampton and Christy Samoy dreamed of building a cozy, from-scratch kitchen serving internationally inspired soul food. Let's just say their dream came true. Every day Hampton heads to the market to garner inspiration for the day's eight or so special menu items. From there, a pair of talented chefs works alongside him to create epic collaborations, often with an Asian or Indian flair. Since opening three years ago, the 54-seat restaurant has also offered a rotation of "hit singles"— dishes that were once specials but became so popular the couple had no choice but to keep them on the standard menu for fear of disgruntled regulars. Case in point: the mushroom manchego toast ($6/$12), a popular appetizer of toasted French bread points layered with a decadent combination of melted manchego cheese atop a pile of onion- and brown cream sherry sauce-smothered mushrooms. There's also the gnocchi with oxtail ($12/$22), a signature entree Hampton has been preparing since day one. The first thing the kitchen is tasked with preparing each day, an entire oxtail is braised for six hours in a rich vegetable stock until the meat falls from the bone; it's served with a basic San Marzano tomato sauce flavored with garlic, onion, and basil over a bed of pillowy soft homemade gnocchi. A rotating selection of boutique wines and craft beers completes the multicultural vibe.

Readers' Choice: Rusty Hook Tavern

Jimmy's Bistro is the Best Restaurant in Palm Beach County 2016.
Jimmy's Bistro is the Best Restaurant in Palm Beach County 2016.

Best Restaurant in Palm Beach County: Jimmy's Bistro
They say the best things come in small packages. That's certainly true of Jimmy's Bistro in Delray Beach, a pint-sized eatery serving up an innovative New American-Italian menu. Despite its location in the heart of downtown Delray Beach, the six-table boutique establishment and wine bar has so far managed to fly under the tourist-trap radar thanks to its clandestine location off Swinton Avenue — but locals sure have found it. Even in the height of summer, regulars flock to chef-owner Jimmy Mills' eponymous eatery. A well-traveled, classically trained chef, Mills has done well over the years with a handwritten chalkboard in place of a handheld menu. Homemade pastas ($24) and a roasted half duck ($36) have become locals' favorites, and fish entrees change depending on what's supplied by Captain Clay and Sons Fish Market a few blocks north. Favorites include the housemade mozzarella ($12) served with locally grown tomatoes or glutinous ribbons of handmade fettuccine smothered beneath a rich tomato and meat ragu. All you need to complete the evening: a bottle of wine and some good company. And, of course, a reservation.

Readers' Choice : Kapow! Noodle Bar

Burlock Coast is the Best New Restaurant in Broward County 2016.
Burlock Coast is the Best New Restaurant in Broward County 2016.

Best New Restaurant in Broward County: Burlock Coast
Ritz-Carlton is reinventing the typical hotel restaurant. The oceanfront Burlock Coast is a café, market, restaurant, and bar all rolled into one, and it entices locals as well as tourists. It offers a marketplace for artisanal goods, grab-and-go lunches, retail bottles of small-batch rums, and a formal restaurant. The emphasis here is on locally sourced ingredients, from raw bar offerings like king crab cocktails to mains like New York Strip steaks ($46), plus a tomato bruschetta made with Little Pond Farm heirloom tomatoes. In the restaurant's carefully curated marketplace, patrons can find breads made by revered Miami baker Zak Stern (aka Zak the Baker), a hot cup of Panther Coffee, or charcuterie from Miami Smokers. And on top of all the local goodness, cocktail lovers can build their own drinks using a selection of Caribbean, French, and Spanish rums.

Readers' Choice: Boatyard

Grato is the Best New Restaurant in Palm Beach County 2016.
Grato is the Best New Restaurant in Palm Beach County 2016.

Best New Restaurant in Palm Beach County: Grato
At Grato, which opened in January, chef-owner Clay Conley (owner of Buccan) is going rustic Italian for the first time just a few miles away from his familiar Palm Beach stomping grounds. Conley calls the area around the Norton Museum of Art "an underserved market" into which he hopes to breathe some life. The restaurant is already attracting huge crowds; any night of the week, a troop of valets must manage the flood of patrons who swarm for happy hour. Dinner service seems as though all of Palm Beach has shown up, packing Grato's industrial-sized room wall to wall with a handsome crowd of guests. The focal point is the exposed wood-fueled oven painted Ferrari red. Patrons can sit at the kitchen bar to watch chefs shuffle pies and meats in and out from open to close. The best part of Grato, however, is devouring any of Conley's handmade extruded pastas. True bliss is twirling a forkful of fat paccheri smothered in a pork-riddled Sunday gravy, stabbing a single bucatini smothered in pasty-thick carbonara sauce seasoned with a heavy dose of fresh-cracked black pepper; or piling a spoonful of tender, dumpling-like ricotta gnocchi that seem to be held together by nothing more than the force of the Palm Beach pasta prince's will. It makes for a restaurant that is equal parts social hotspot and culinary tour de force.

Readers' Choice: Boca's Best BBQ and Smokehouse

Check out the Best of Broward Palm Beach 2016 slideshow, read the entire issue online, or grab a print copy from newsstands today. Best of 2016: Food & Drink is your key to the best eats and drinks in South Florida.


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